Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

More Up-To-Date Game Lists

September 26, 2007

A bit of a quiet week for enhancements and news, I’m afraid.

However, I am taking steps to improve how regularly new games are added into the database. This has been one of the biggest problems with the whole Swopster experience so far for both myself and members.

Currently, it’s a manual, time-consuming, brain-destroying task that I’m not that keen on doing.

Through a combination of games constantly being released, and my inherently lazy nature, the lists for all the consoles simply get more and more out of date until folks start screaming at me on the forums or e-mailing me.

I’ve devised quite a neat semi-automated solution that will trawl around the net and update the games lists. It’s only about 40% built so far, but the initial tests are looking very encouraging.

So, soon, you’ll finally be able to select from fully up-to-the-minute games lists.

Cheap Deals – Cheap Ass Gamer

September 16, 2007

I stumbled over a great site the other day for cheap game deals (note: its mainly for the US) http://www.cheapassgamer.com/

Not only do they list loads of up-to-the-minute video-game deals, but there’s a healthy forum there full of advice and interesting discussions. They even have a forum dedicated to game trading which, naturally, I’m kinda interested in.

What struck me about all this was how great it was to see a game swapping community doing so well. It’s given me a lot of encouragement for what Swopster could achieve (eventually).

Obviously I still have a long way to go though – the CAG site has over 25,000 members.

Switch Off TV – Do Something Useful

September 5, 2007

The first few paragraphs of this labor day post by Seth Godin really struck a chord with me. The whole Swopster site simply wouldn’t exist today if I hadn’t decided to do something useful with my spare time.

I could have just sat back and watched TV (someone once called TV the “idiot’s lantern” which, at times, is terrifyingly accurate). Once I started Swopster though, I found myself subconciously counting how many hours of trash TV I watched.

There’s nothing worse than thinking “what a waste of 2 hours” after watching a cruddy movie. In fact, in the case of “Die Another Day”, 1.5 hours and then I turned it off before the end because I simply couldn’t take anymore cardboard villains, invisible cars, and nonsensical plot-lines…

But, because Swopster is my hobby, because I don’t have to do it, the time I spend on it is all the more enjoyable.

So, if you have a hobby (unless its watching cruddy Bond movies of course!) could you turn it into something useful?

Enjoy writing? Start a blog!

Enjoy programming? Start a site!

The possibilities really are endless.

Better The Devil You Know!

April 17, 2007

This blog has been a bit neglected over the past few weeks (who am I kidding, months!). There’s a good reason, though…the Swopster site was being dragged kicking and screaming through to the end of the beta-testing stage.

The initial team of beta-testers did a great job of highlighting interface issues and bringing the obvious (and not so obvious) flaws to my attention. However, I unleashed my secret weapon on beta-testing the other week – my wife, Sharon. As well as being perfect :-), she’s the best tester I’ve ever seen. The only tester I’ve known to make a developer (umm…not me!) actually cry!!

When you’re building a site it’s all very wonderful and cosy to get everyone saying how nice it is, etc. Friends drop by and compliment you on how great it looks. Family look at it and tell you it’s brilliant. Everyone seems to agree it’s fantastic.

But this is completely the wrong attitude! You really need someone to set aside a decent amount of their time to tear it apart. Someone to try their hardest to demolish your work of art. Someone to be brutally honest. Someone to thrash your ideas, design and code to breaking point and beyond.

Sharon did a fantastic, thorough report and really let loose, absolutely ripping into the site. This is not a nice process (sob!), but it’s well worth it.

Why put yourself through the mill like this? Because I guarantee you’ll feel 100 times worse if you release your site with stupid flaws (famous last words…). There’s nothing worse than putting all that hard work and effort in, only to find folks aren’t using your site to it’s potential because of a stupid little silly error.